What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in North, Central and South America. Consumed as early as 3,000 B.C., chia seeds were eaten as a grain, mixed with water, ground into flour, mixed into medicines, and pressed for Omega-3 oil.
Chia seeds were revered by both the Maya and Aztecs for their amazing energy and natural healing powers.
Chia is currently experiencing a renaissance and is quickly becoming a trusted household staple. Because it is neutral in flavor, chia can be easily incorporated into just about any recipe (link to recipe page). And, unlike flaxseed, chia seeds do not need to be ground to reap their nutritional benefits! The versatility of this powerhouse makes chia seeds good for so many different things. Check out the Mamma Chia blog (link to blog) for more great information on chia!
What are Chia Seeds Good For and Why You Should Eat Them
There are so many reasons to eat chia seeds! Chia is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Those tiny seeds are packed with Omega-3s, fiber, protein, calcium, iron and more. Chia seeds have:
- 8x more Omega-3s than salmon
- 70% more protein than soybeans
- 25% more fiber than flaxseed
- 6x more calcium than milk
- 2x more potassium than a banana
*Based on a gram for gram comparison
The health benefits of chia extend far beyond this short list. Learn more here.
The History of Chia
Chia seeds have a proven track record of providing sustenance to humankind throughout history. Not only are chia seeds good for their nutritional properties, but in pre-Colombian times, chia seeds were a main component of both the Aztec and Maya diets, and played a prominent role in religious ceremonies. One tablespoon of the seeds was considered capable of sustaining a warrior for 24 hours. Today, chia is the force behind the famous long distance runners, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. The Tarahumara power their extraordinary stamina with chia, as described in the New York Times bestselling book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall:
“In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with Omega-3s, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber and more. If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn’t do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months on the chia diet, you could probably swim home.”
“Chia was once so treasured, the Aztecs used to deliver it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.” – Born To Run